François Pompon

François Pompon (9 May 1855 – 6 May 1933) was a French sculptor and animalier. Pompon made his Salon debut in 1879, exhibiting a statue of Victor Hugo's Cosette (from Les Misérables). He was a pioneer of modern stylized animalier sculpture. He was not fully recognized for his artistic accomplishments until the age of 67 at the Salon d'Automne of 1922 with the work "Ours blanc", also known as "the White Bear". Pompon died in Paris, France, on 6 May 1933.

François Pompon
Francois Pompon, circa 1918
Pompon, c. 1918
Born9 May 1855
Died6 May 1933 (aged 77)
EducationÉcole nationale supérieure des arts décoratifs
Known forSculpture
Notable work
L'Ours Blanc (The White Bear)

Early life

Pompon, the son of a cabinet maker, was born on 9 May 1855 in Saulieu, Burgundy, France.[1] At age 15 he was working as an apprentice marble carver in a Dijon funerary monument company,[2] but soon thereafter took up studies at the school of fine arts in Dijon.[1] By 1873 his family had moved to Paris where the Franco-Prussian War had caused significant damage to the French capital just a few years prior to his arrival. Pompon found work on rebuilding projects, beginning with his work to produce architectural ornamentation for the new Hotel de Ville de Paris.[2]


Pompon LOursBlanc1
L'Ours Blanc (the White bear) — sculpture by François Pompon

Beginning in 1876 he studied under the noted animalier sculptor Pierre Louis Rouillard at the École nationale supérieure des arts décoratifs.[2] In order to support himself, he took jobs as a craftsman working for Antonin Mercié, Alexandre Falguière, and Renae de Saint-Marceaux.[1] Later he worked as Auguste Rodin's assistant. Rodin once told him, "you will be a great artist" after viewing one of his sculptures.[1] Pompon made his Salon debut in 1879, exhibiting a statue of Victor Hugo's Cosette (from Les Misérables).[2] In subsequent Salons he presented some works in the form of a few bronzes and plasters. As it turned out Rodin was correct—he would become a great artist—but it would take nearly 50 more years for Pompon to be truly discovered and recognized for his innovative style. He had some mild success in 1919 when the Musée de Luxembourg purchased a turtle dove he had sculpted in stone. Following this, the Museum of Grenoble purchased three plaster works in 1921.[2]

Widespread recognition and fame finally came at age 67 at the Salon d'Automne of 1922 with the work "Ours blanc", also known as "the White Bear" or "Polar Bear in Stride", the marble original of which is located at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.[1] The acclaim he received in 1922 finally allowed him to work for himself and with this new-found independence he was able to produce some of his most important works. He created Le Cerf, a large monumental bronze that was erected on the plaza of Arnhem in the Netherlands.[1] Next came Le Taureau (1933) that was erected in his hometown of Saulieu.[1] As founders for his bronzes he employed, primarily, Valsuani and Hébrard. A number of other foundries began to seize upon his notoriety and cast fakes of his work, many of extremely poor quality.[1]

Near the end of his life, Pompon donated to the Dijon Museum nearly 300 of his works in plaster, terracotta and bronze.[1]

Death and legacy

Pompon died in Paris, France, on 6 May 1933. He is best remembered as a forerunner of modern sculpture, and influenced Constantin Brâncuși among others.


Saulieu - Taureau de Pompon

Statue du taureau du Pompon, Saulieu, Bourgogne

Saulieu - Taureau de Pompon 2


Pompon 1767

La Taupe

Pompon 1772


Pompon 1773


Pompon 1774


Pompon 1776


Owl - Chouette - François Pompon

Petite chouette (1918)

Pompon - Hyène


Pompon - Coq


Ours Pompon Musee Orsay

L'Ours Blanc, détail (Musée d'Orsay)

Ours - Pompon - Dijon

L'Ours Blanc (Jardin Darcy, Dijon)

Dijon ours de Pompom

L'Ours Blanc (Jardin Darcy, Dijon)

Location of sculptures


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Kjellberg, Pierre (1994). Bronzes of the 19th Century (First ed.). Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. p. 551. ISBN 0-88740-629-7.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Francois Pompon (1855-1833), Sculptor". Retrieved 20 July 2015.

External links

1933 in art

The year 1933 in art involved some significant events and new works.

Aimé Millet

Aimé Millet (September 28, 1819 – January 14, 1891) was a noted French sculptor, who was born and died in Paris.

Millet was the son of miniaturist Frederick Millet (1796–1859) and uncle to Chicago architectural decorator Julian Louis Millet (1856–1923). He studied and made first in 1836 at the École des Beaux Arts with David d'Angers and Viollet-le-Duc, who was later to design the base of Millet's statue of Vercingetorix in Alesia.

In 1840 Millet began to produce his early works, in 1859 received the Légion d'honneur, and in February 1870 was appointed professor at the École des Arts décoratifs. He was a friend of sculptor Pierre Louis Rouillard and his students included Louis Majorelle, Berthe Morisot, John Walz, and François Pompon.

Millet died in Paris on January 14, 1891, and is buried in Montmartre Cemetery.

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Animalier as a collective plural noun, or animalier bronzes, is also a term in antiques for small-scale sculptures of animals, of which large numbers were produced, often mass-produced, primarily in 19th-century France and to a lesser extent elsewhere in continental Europe.

Although many earlier examples can be found, animalier sculpture became more popular, and reputable, in early 19th-century Paris with the works of Antoine-Louis Barye (1795–1875), for whom the term was coined, derisively, by critics in 1831, and of Émile-Coriolan Guillemin. By the mid-century, a taste for animal subjects was very widespread among all sections of the middle-classes.

In French, a parc animalier is a zoo.

Cadaver Tomb of René of Chalon

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The tomb dates from a period of societal anxiety over death, as plague, war and religious conflicts ravaged Europe. It was commissioned as the resting place of René of Chalon, Prince of Orange, son-in-law of Duke Antoine of Lorraine. René was killed aged 25 at the siege of St. Dizier on 15 July 1544, from a wound sustained the previous day. Richier presents him as an écorché, with his skin and muscles decayed, leaving him reduced to a skeleton. This apparently fulfilled his deathbed wish that his tomb depict his body as it would be three years after his death. His left arm is raised as if gesturing towards heaven. Supposedly, at one time his heart was held in a reliquary placed in the hand of the figure's raised arm. Unusually for contemporaneous objects of this type, his skeleton is standing, making it a "living corpse", an innovation that was to become highly influential. The tomb effigy is positioned above the carved marble and limestone altarpiece.

Designated a Monument historique on 18 June 1898, the tomb was moved for safekeeping to the Panthéon in Paris during the First World War, before being returned to Bar-le-Duc in 1920. Both the statue and altarpiece underwent extensive restoration between 1998 and 2003. Replicas of the statue are in the Musée Barrois in Bar-le-Duc and the Palais de Chaillot, Paris.


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Louis Dejean

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His works include sculptures for the Opéra de Paris, Palais du Louvre and the Fontaine Saint-Michel.

He was commissioned to travel to Istanbul, by Sultan Abdulaziz. He has many sculptures in different locations of Istanbul, including a bull sculpture at the center of Istanbul's Kadikoy district.

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Saulieu is a commune in the Côte-d'Or department in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region in eastern France.

Capital of the Morvan, situated within the Morvan Regional Park, Saulieu lies to the southeast of Paris on the RN6 road.

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